‘A Clash of Kings’, the second installment of the series A Song of Fire and Ice by the renowned writer George RR Martin. In the first book, the Game of Thrones just begins with the King of Westroes dead along with the Warden of North and the Lord of Winterfell, and in the east with the hatching of three Dragons to Daenerys of the House of Targaryen.
As the name suggests the book is about the clash within the different kings that arose after the death of King Robert Baratheon and the coronation of King Joffrey Baratheon as the King of Westroes. Like his first book, this book also begins with a Prologue in which he introduces Stannis Baratheon, the Lord of Dragonstone and the rightful heir to the Iron Throne and the younger brother of King Robert Baratheon. The prologue also introduces the other main character called Melisandre, who is also known as the Red Priestess as she is the Priestess of the Lord of Fire.
As mentioned earlier the book revolves mainly around four main characters who try to claim the Iron Throne for them and as the book comes closer to its end more and more self-styled kings come up. First, as also mentioned earlier is Stannis Baratheon, George also introduces another character named Davos Seaworth who is also known as the Onion Knight. Previously a smuggler, Davos is pardoned by Stannis and in turn Davos’ fingers are chopped. Second, self-proclaimed king would be Renly Baratheon, the Lord of Storm’s End, the rightful seat of the Baratheons and also the second brother of the deceased King Robert Baratheon and in-line for the claim of the throne after the death of his second elder brother Stannis.
The Third is Robb Stark, the eldest son of Eddard ‘Ned’ Stark, the Lord of Winterfell and also called the King-in-the-North or the Young Wolf. He is called the Young Wolf because he fights with his direwolf ‘Grey Wind’ by his side. Robb Stark is not a self-proclaimer but just a young boy who is trying to avenge his father’s death, who was wrongly prosecuted by King Joffrey. Robb, who is only a young boy, is known to have won all the battles he has fought and throughout the book he continues to fight battles, with his mother Catelyn Stark by his side. The fourth and the most obvious is the cruel boy king Joffrey Baratheon, who sits the Iron throne and is bethroed to Sansa Stark who is still held as hostage in King’s Landing. Joffrey’s uncle Tyrion Lannister is named as the acting Hand of the King.
Arya Stark is still missing and assumed dead by almost everyone in King’s Landing and also by her family. But in the previous book she was taken by Yoren as a Night’s Watch recruit. But with Yoren dead, Arya and the others with whom she travels are taken by the men of Harrenhal where she is made to work. Apart from Gendry, the bastard of Robert Baratheon and Hot Pie, Arya also makes another friend Jaqen H’ghar who helps her and leaves one wondering about his true nature.
Whereas Theon Greyjoy is sent back to Iron Islands to treat with his father and make an alliance with Robb Stark. But that takes a not so surprising turn, but the twists and turns it leads to later on leaves one more than awestruck. By the end of the book Balon Greyjoy, father of Theon styles himself as the King of the Iron Islands and the King of the North.
Meanwhile in the east,with Visery’s and Khal Drogo Dead and the birth of Dragons, the story takes a huge twist. Dany along with her most trusted advisor, Jorah Mormont, the exile Knight of the Bear Islands go to Qarth in order to find help to be able to attack Westroes, which rightfully belongs to Daenerys, the Mother of Dragons.
On the Wall, Lord Commander Mormont detaches a scouting party and they travel north of the Wall in order to be able to find the self-styled King-Beyond –the-wall, Mance Rayder, who was previously a brother of the Night’s watch and now he is a deserter. Mance is gathering all the wildings and is preparing an attack on the wall and The Dead Come Walking. Jon Snow, the bastard of Ned Stark is also amongst them, as he is the squire of the Lord Commander. There are no less surprises here too. The book ends with a chapter of Jon Snow leaving one all confused.
The book is no doubt no less than the previous one he is written. George RR Martin is known for the skills of writing and also for killing characters. The lesson that he tries to give one is that one should never get attached to any of the characters, because “All Men Must die”. That one trust leaves the reader hurting and yet wanting more. The book has an important battle the battle of “Blackwater Bay”. The book has almost everything a good fantasy book should have: love, intimacy, blood, battle, sorcery, everything and anything. Name it and the book has it. The book is a little better than the TV show. A must read for all the fantasy lovers.